Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist Peter Darbyshire

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The Questionless Books Interview: Novelist Peter Darbyshire

Inspired by the Proust Questionnaire, The Questionless Books Interview gets a host of lit-types (authors, editors, publishers, publicists, designers, booksellers, readers, bloggers, journalists, etc.) to finish a bunch of statements about the state of literature and the "future of books".

First up is novelist Peter Darbyshire.

Peter's work has appeared in publications across North America. His novel Please won the KM Hunter Award for Best Emerging Artist and Canada’s ReLit Award for Best Novel, and was featured on CTV. His latest novel, The Warhol Gang, was published to rave reviews earlier this year. Peter lives in Vancouver.

Peter's books:

The Warhol Gang

Peter's websites:

I am... A meme vector.

I am known to... Rewrite to the point where I can’t keep track of my drafts anymore. Also to the point of insanity.

I do this in... Spite of creating outlines to avoid having to rewrite too much.

I do this because... The unknown is too seductive for anyone with an imagination to resist.

I do this when I... Am running out of time to finish the book. There’s nothing like the terror of a deadline to make you really creative.

The way I do this is... I come up with idea after idea for the book, until I have nothing left. That way I know what not to write. Then I throw myself into the void.

At its core, a Writer is... Someone who sits down at the computer every day, or at least most days, and writes until his soul is gone.

As opposed to an Author, who is... Someone who seizes any opportunity to not write, such as answering interview questions.

A Writer is responsible for... Civilization.

As opposed to an Author, who is responsible for... The continuing profits of distilleries.

At its core, Publishing is... A business. I would say it used to be an industry, but there’s a difference between the two these days.

As opposed to Editing, which is... A form of therapy. And maybe sadomasochism.

A Publisher should always... Be thinking about the future. It’s a shame most of them don’t.

As opposed to an Editor, who should always... Be editing the book they’re editing, not editing the book they want to be writing. A good editor knows the difference. A great editor lives the difference.

A Manuscript that's ready to be read by others is... Never finished.

As opposed to a Book that's ready to be ready by others, which is... Still never finished, and now never can be finished.

A Manuscript should always... Be avoided in conversations in polite company.

As opposed to a Book, which should always... Aim to make polite company go home and lock the doors.

At its core, Bookselling is... Finding the right book for a reader.

As opposed to Book Marketing, which is... Finding the right reader for a book.

The smallest unit of narrative is... The first draft. There’s usually so little of it left that it’s invisible.

To be a Book a thing must be... A universe unto itself. Otherwise it’s just a book.

The biggest reason to be scared of the future is... Because the future is going to kill us all. The future is the greatest murderer in history.

The biggest reason to anticipate the future is... We won’t have to worry about it anymore.

In the future we will all... Be forgotten.

At his/her core, a Reader is... The basic unit of civilization.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Related item from our archives

George Murray

George Murray’s six books of poetry include The Rush to Here and The Hunter. His most recent books, Whiteout and Glimpse: Selected Aphorisms, are published by ECW Press. He is the editor of the popular literary website

Go to George Murray’s Author Page